It’s hard not to be impressed by Griselda Records and their seemingly unstoppable arrangement of releases under the championship styled belt. From Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, and Westside Gunn, there is an immense amount of talent and future behind the label and now that Westside Gunn’s saga of Hitler Wears Hermes hits the seventh release, he dives off the board into a pool filled with riches and acquired fame from dirt.
Hitler Wears Hermes 7 jumps from the Buffalo scene with Westside Gunn swinging through the town in a Lamborghini Centenario in a fast-paced, but controlled environment. He is technically a veteran in the rap field with more than 20 plus records under his name. As he begins on “Size 42,” Gunn gets right down to business describing, “Ayo, let’s get this very clear, I’ll kill a nigga anywhere. Hundred shot Draco’s leaving shells everywhere. Might cop the Phantom next, standing over coke pots… Balenciaga’s got me six feet, but my ID say I’m only 5’10”,” in this utter display of dominance over the listener. Anywhere that Westside Gunn is featured, he acts as a Humphrey Bogart of the vinyl that is conservative in his language and wordplay but can showcase this muscle through his verse that is intimidating without a gun on his side.
With a production of tornado-tag-teams through The Alchemist, Animoss, DJ Green Lantern, Statik Selektah, and others, Hitler Wears Hermes 7 is a classical record on the instrumental side. Tracks that rage with these silky horns and the warm strings that encapsulate class behind rap, Westside Gunn is incredibly natural here and seems to be at his most comfortable while rhyming. Almost as if the record was able to write itself, Gunn envisions this Scarface scene with shiny gems on watches and ebony furniture. He is both wealthy in production styles and lyrical wordplay that continues to repeat even far after the record is finished, combining a love for classic hip-hop storytelling with a new spin.
It is dangerous but in a mob boss sort of arrangement and less of a street crook. This is crime with a passion and some serious bills behind the sound, with “Lucha Bros” strolling up with a pistol in the overcoat. The instrumental is inviting and smooth as Westside Gunn describes, “Please pray for me, I ain’t tryna see a stretcher. Please pray for me, all week I wore Stella… I flip shits like the Lucha Bros, right out the front door.” Suddenly, the iconic vocals from Curren$y can be heard as he features on the track alongside Benny The Butcher. In this three-ring blender of hustlers and movements, they all come together for one ulterior motive besides just rap, this becomes a lifestyle for them.
With Hitler Wears Hermes 7 wrapping the seven-part series under one tight roof, Westside Gunn can stand proud to represent Buffalo and rap music as it progresses in different directions. With wordplay that is dynamic, subject matter that can open the eyes, and hometown hero flag that waves, Gunn takes art and the streets to the forefront of his sound.